After a mother at a friend’s birthday party lights her child’s candles
at the exact minute he was born, and my adopted child asks me,
“What time was I born?”
There was the waxed and colorful dress she wore to meet you.
Outside: the unrealized river, fantasy of jungle, whole economy of rain.
There was notable heat, of course, humid steady breath.
The moringa reached its branches, gathered as much sky as it could.
She cleaned her kitchen for your coming. Pots shined.
Spoons held each other at sounds of her pain. Knives stood brave.
Impala leaped, stood on two legs; their horns blessed the doorway.
Lions came, gave their voice to you, left with tails swishing.
She knew the earth beneath her. Unmoved.
Dust stirred toward bones. Blood-fight of her body.
There is a way a woman is washed with birth.
Calm devotion. Not-miracle.
And Shala, like I said at the party, it was six a.m.
Early morning, new as you in the constant equatorial sun.